Hershey's Kiss and the Gopel

Chocolate Kiss Message

Good morning! It’s Valentine’s Day! And because I love my church family, I have brought you a gift of chocolate today. I have a Hershey kiss for each one of you. They will be in the offering plates later and everyone can take one.
Now, I’ve bought them, and I’ve offered them to you, but you won’t actually have one until you reach into the offering plate and take it. Once you’ve taken it, you have accepted my gift. You don’t have to wait until you get home, you are free to go ahead and enjoy it. But, whatever you do, don’t stick it in your pocket for later. I’m a mom. I do laundry. Trust me;it just gets messy.
Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then, a sinner, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
As a symbol of my love for you, I have offered this gift. (Hold up Hershey kiss.) As a symbol of God’s love for you, He offers this! (Pull large kiss out of bag and place on pulpit.)
Let’s look at my gift. I’m going to ask three questions.

First, what is it? Its little banner says, “Kisses”, so you know there is chocolate in there.
Second, how do you get it? You can take one from the offering plate when it comes around.
Third, how do you enjoy it once you have it? You eat it.And you know that when you eat milk chocolate, it melts and coats your whole mouth so that every single taste bud gets some!It’s good stuff!
Now let’s look at God’s gift.
What is it? (Show banner.) It’s eternal life.
How do you get this gift? The easiest way to remember is to use the A-B-C method. Many of you are probably familiar with it.
A= Admit. Admit to God you’re a sinner.
B= Believe. Believe Jesus is God’s Son,who died in our place, was buried, and rose from the dead
C= Confess. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ.
I want to talk about the Believing part for a minute. I always struggled with the verses like Acts 16:31that say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”And this is why- Even the demons know who Jesus is and what he did. For example, Luke 4:41 says, “Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God! But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah.”But even though they believe who he is, they are still cast out of heaven. It seems like to just say, “Believe it,” is missing something. So, I finally did something I never thought I would feel inclined to do- I looked up the original Greek word to see what “believe” means. And this is what I found: it means “to commit, to trust”.A different source said “unqualified commitment”. This means more than simply knowing that something is true, it means you are willing to commit to it.

A tightrope walker getting ready to cross Niagara Falls addressed the crowd and asked them who believed he could cross carrying someone on his back. Many shouted back, “Yes, you can!” He pointed to a man who had shouted out his belief in him, and said come on up and I’ll carry you. The man refused. He may have professed to believe, but not to the point that he was willing to trust, or to commit himself to what he said he believed.That willingness to commit to following Jesus is the difference between the demons’ belief and a Christian’s belief. It’s not just knowledge of the mind, but a choice of the heart.
The last question is- how do you enjoy the gift once you have it? Eternal life means life in the past, present, and future. The gift was purchased in the past, with Jesus’ death. And for some of us, the joy of receiving the gift was in the past. We also understand that it means when we die, we get to enjoy heaven… with God… forever and ever! So that takes care of the future. But the part that is often forgotten is that the present is also part of that gift of eternal life. You don’t have to wait until you get home to enjoy it. John 10:10- I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.It can seem easier to just take a little bit of the gift. Just enough to be saved. That’s all I want, God!Thanks! Sometimes people enjoy the little bit that they take, but many times, they stick it away in their pocket. They’ve accepted the gift, but they don’t let it flavor their life. As a matter of fact, if you leave it in your pocket, it can make a mess of your witness. When we just take a little bit, we are cheating ourselves of all the goodness of the gift- things like the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, self-control, etc.- and most of all, a friendship, a relationship with a powerful, loving God. If you really want to enjoy God’s gift, embrace the whole thing. And believe me, if you walk around with the whole thing, people are going to notice and say, “That looks good! I want some of that!”

I’m going to finish up with this: When the plates come around and you accept my gift of kisses, I want you to think about two things as you reach in and take one:

Have you accepted God’s gift? Not, do you know about it, but have you accepted it? Have you believed in Jesus to the point of being willing to commit to Him?
If you have, are you enjoying the fullness of it? If a little Hershey kiss can fill your whole mouth, God’s gift can fill your whole life!
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is Good!

Soul and the Spirit Difference

I Thessalonians the fifth chapter and the 23rd verse, says now may the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit, soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. What does that mean? That means, like there’s a trinity of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, we are made up in his image. We have a body, we are a soul and we are a spirit. I want to share with you just some thoughts along that line. Each part of us plays a very significant part, we can’t get along without it. You’ve heard of the phrase keeping body and soul together. Well, it goes beyond that. It talks about man’s spirit without God is dead. That means it’s spiritually separated from Him. It can not truly worship Him. But our spirit is that part of our being by which we communicate in the heavenly realm, with those in the heavenly realm. God the Father as we pray, have conversation with Him, but also the unholy spirit, Satan, he has a way of communicating with us. But that’s, that’s the spirit.

Now what part is the soul. We sometimes have trouble distinguishing the soul from the spirit. But there is distinct difference. The soul is made up of our mind, our will and our emotion. They’re all a part of our being. They are what we are. Sometimes it’s spoken of as the heart. The very center of our being from which all our actions come, our feelings our thought. In the salvation experience, with our mind we hear and receive the facts of Jesus and we hear and understand how we are to be saved. With our mind we receive information. What we do with it depends upon #1.  Our emotions. We decide whether or not we are going to receive them and make them a part of our life. We decide, but you also feel the sorrow for your sin. You feel the joy of receiving by faith salvation through grace.  Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, by His grace.

Then the emotion is a part of it too. We tend to leave that out sometimes. We don’t want to seem emotional. But it’s with the emotion that we do this. Now, by the will we make a positive decision to receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. That’s something that we do by our will.